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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Deckless! » » Elmsley count - question about Beat 1 (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Bob G
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Hi Magicians,


In another thread I asked about how to handle the EC in a way that was easy on my previously injured wrists and forearms. This question is a continuation, but with a new emphasis that I think justifies a new thread.



I've been practicing the Elmsley count with the packet starting in the left hand, then switched to the right hand while to top card is peeled back into the left hand. I know that this handling is controversial, but that issue has been well-plumbed and isn't what my question is about.



I'm making good progress on doing this style of the count with the cards pinch-gripped in the right hand, with the "pinch" at the lower right corner of the right-hand packet. But there's a variation in which one "pinches" closer to the middle of the long right side of the cards. From my experiments, I think this would be easier on my wrists. The variation is described by Giobbi (CC3, p. 311), and by Liam Montier in his Elmsley Count Project disks.



But here's my problem: when I use my left hand to pull off the top card during Beat 1, the position of the cards doesn't look like what Giobbi shows in his diagrams. In his diagrams the top card gets tilted slightly, and, in the process, the entire top card slides somewhat to the left of the right side of the next-to-top card, leaving room for the thumb and the index and middle fingers to grasp the latter card. In contrast, when I try the same thing,the bottom of the top card rotates counter-clockwise, well out to the right of the next-to-top card, thus making it impossible for me to grasp the latter card in the middle of its right long side.


I've tried all kinds of variations of hand positions, and the only thing that works is to turn the top card about 45 degrees counter-clockwise: the space in the middle of the second card then opens up for me to grasp it. I guess I *could* do that, but I worry that it would look strange and suspicious to spectators to rotate the top card so far -- ironic, because the secret move doesn't occur on Beat 1 !.



I don't know why this is happening -- perhaps something about the size and shape of my hands?? Anyway, I'd welcome any ideas that would help me solve this problem.



Thanks as always,


Bob
Claudio
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Bob,

It looks like you’re unintentionally pushing out the top card out instead of just pulling it backwards.

Here’s something you could try to have a feel for this move.

Hold the packet in left hand but hold it only between the 2nd finger on the outer right corner and base of the thumb on the left inner corner. It’s a position similar to a dealing grip where only the palm and the 2nd hold the packet by putting (light) pressure across the diagonal.

Now use your thumb to push out the top card making sure it pivots on (and keeps contact with) the base of your thumb. This is in essence the action of dealing a card. Now your thumb reverses the direction and brings back the card to alignment and keep on pulling back to discover the long edge of the 2nd card, as in Giobbi’s drawing.

Keep doing this back and forth action until you feel comfortable.

If you manage to do that, then hopefully you should be able to transfer this feeling to your EC.
Bob G
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Claudio,


I'm pretty sure you've hit the nail on the head. Let me try what you suggest (and I like the practice drill), and I'll let you now how it goes.


Thanks as always,


Bob
Bob G
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Hi again, Claudio,


A heartfelt thanks for taking the time to reply to my question. By following your instructions I was able to fix the problem. I still need to practice more, but I really feel that I'm on my way now. It would never have occurred to me to use the middle finger instead of the index finger.



The funny thing is that the videos you made for me a while ago show exactly what you described. When I first watched them I just didn't understand what was going on. I watched them again with your verbal directions in mind, and I could see that that's exactly what you were showing me!



I've been excited about magic for the whole three years (nearly) that I've been studying it seriously, but my excitement is becoming more practical and focused, partly because of your comments in another thread about Faulty Followers, and partly because of your help with sleights such as the EC.



Best Regards,



Bob
Bob G
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P. S. I think that by holding the cards in the middle of the right edge instead of what I had been doing -- holding them at the lower right corner -- will help with the tendinitis problem. (I. e., holding with the right hand.)
Claudio
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Hi Bob,

It was my pleasure and I’m glad to hear you’re progressing well with your EC and your magic in general.

If I can be of any further help, let me know.
Bob G
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Hi Claudio (and others),


Your suggestion about using the middle finger (instead of the index finger) is still working, and is working even better as I continue to practice. I'm now on to a new problem! This one has to do with Beat 2:


If I understand the psychology correctly, once beat two is complete, the two cards in the right hand should be perfectly flush with each other. My take on what should appear to be happening is that at any given moment the cards in the right hand, the ones still waiting to be taken into the left hand, should be flush with each other. But despite lots of tries, I haven't found a way to make the two cards in my right hand flush at the end of Beat 2. (Once or twice it's happened, but the experiment isn't repeatable.)


More specifically: at the beginning of beat 2 I have a double in my right hand, pushed over a bit to the left of the bottom card in that hand. When my left hand moves to the right to take the double, it leaves behind the left hand's card, which is now in my right hand. It (the stolen card) is now underneath the bottom card in the right hand, and flush with the double. I pull the stolen card back to the right a bit , hoping that it will end up square with the remaining card in the right hand. I can rarely manage that.


Maybe this is something that flies by people? It looks odd to me, like a movie that's been badly edited so that we see someone lying down, and then when we cut back to them an instant later, they're sitting up. There's a lack of continuity that irritates the eye. (I've actually seen this happen in one of my favorite movies.)



I hope you can visualize this. I'll put up a video of this if necessary; I might need a reminder of how to put a video on youtube. I did it once, but I've sort of forgotten Smile .



Thanks,


Bob
Bob G
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P. S. An additional problem that I haven't been able to solve: When I pull stolen card to the right to try to align it with the other card that's already in my right hand, the stolen card, while in motion to the left, tends to flash.
Joeni
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Maybe it depends on the style and personality, but I find that a bit of seeming "sloppyness" makes the effect still stronger. Audience suspects certain sleights more when it is done with perfectly aligned cards, so it needs more of misdirection. But it is possible to make the cards align by pulling the stolen card exactly underneath the bottom card. This needs a bit of drill which might be done in sessions singly practicing this aligning pulling the cards from one hand to the other.
Bob G
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Thanks, Joeni. I like the drill you suggest and will give it a try.


I don't know how far you are in magic-- I've been doing it for three years and still feel like I'm in the "late beginner" stage. But for what it's worth, I find Giobbi's Card College series indispensable. (The name is different in German.) I'm inclined to agree with him when he suggests that card magicians should strive for elegance in their card handling. Of course, there's a difference between "sloppiness" and "being casual." I'm sure it's possible to be both elegant and casual, though I can't say I've gotten to that point yet!


By the way, on another thread, about the Elmsley count, I recommended to you Ian Kendall's book Basic Training. I was wondering whether you looked at the book and what you thought of it. No obligation -- just curious.


Bob
Joeni
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Well, I think that I'm more in the early beginner stage, so who am I to give you suggestions? But at the moment now I'm practicing "Twisting the Aces" a lot, and I think that the EC is getting better faster than I first thought, so I'm just drilling and haven't really looked at Kendall's. Maybe I will an other time. For now, I'm struggling more with the triple lift than the EC. For the EC I have looked up several handlings and then ended up my own way which works best for me.
Claudio
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Hi Bob,

It's certainly a valid issue you've raised, but I believe it's not a major issue. I checked my own handling and it's not perfect in that regard, though with a a conscious effort I managed to reduce the misalignment to about 1mm. I believe that the EC is usually performed in a fluid and dynamic sleight and in this context it's perfectly acceptable to perceive the slight misalignment as a consequence of the right thumb simultaneously pushing the 3rd card while the "2nd" is being grabbed by the left hand. Some will disagree and that's fine.

Here's R. Benatar performing EC back to back and the split between 3rd and 4th is the biggest I've seen. It does not seem to ruin the illusion, though.

Starts @40'
Bob G
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Joeni, I'm happy to hear your suggestions. We both have a lot to learn in magic. Good luck with the Elmsley and triples.
Bob G
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Hi Claudio,


Wow! Benatar does an amazing EC. The first time I watched I didn't realize he was even doing one. The second time I couldn't see any misalignment. The third time I saw the very large misalignment you spoke of. Maybe Joeni is right -- a bit of sloppiness can add to the casual feeling?



I'm trying to figure out what Banatar is doing that makes it look so "un-move-like". Part of it is that he sort of tosses cards from one hand to the other -- which makes me wonder how he manages the switch.



So my conclusion is that I don't need to worry too much about the misalignment I asked about (though I don't want to ignore it altogether), but I do need to work on making the count look casual.



And my new question (I always have one, don't I) is, how does one learn to be casual?? In describing how to do sleights and tricks, magicians often instruct their readers to do something "casually," but *how* is that done? Are there drills and exercises that can help achieve a devil-may-care way of handling cards?
Bob G
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On fourth viewing I realize that he only tosses the *last* card. So, that's one touch that makes the count look casual...
Joeni
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Maybe you have a look at Lennart Green, so you see what I mean with "sloppiness" - at least it looks like. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_oa8m5Oq00

But there are as many kinds of being casual as there are magicians. So it depends on your personality, your style, your tricks and effects - and on your average spectators.

Lennart Green for example is very strong with his style, because you think first that he really loses the cards in his deck - but indeed he has always full control of it.

Or take for another example Shin Lim. He is very exact, any movement is perfectly choreographed, and wonderfully so, but have a look at his eyes. His style of "casualness" is strongly depending on his eye contact. Sometimes he looks quite surprised at what happened in his hands, and at other times he looks triumphant or something of the like.

Maybe you just take some time to view on YouTube different card magicians and look for their different styles of "casualness" and then ask yourself what fits your purpose most. Lennart Green and Shin Lim both have every single movement and - as far as I know - in the case of Green every single word scripted, practiced, rehearsed and performed.
Bob G
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Lots of good ideas, Joeni. I look forward to wataching the Green video.


Thanks,

Bob
Claudio
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Casualty: many factors, as Joeni pointed out. I believe a crucial one is mastery. Once you perform your sleights as is they were second nature (and not obstacles to go through and which require concentration) and your presentation has been perfected, you will then relax and perform without tension or apprehension.

Think of yourself when you casually explain/demonstrate some arduous maths concept vs the student who struggles through and sweats bullets. Expertise and familiarity will get you there.
Bob G
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Ah! Thanks, Claudio, yes, that makes a a lot of sense. It's interesting -- Funsway (among others) recommend mastery before performing; others say perform as soon as possible to get the performance experience. I think I'm finding a good middle ground -- which for me emphasizes mastery first.


Bob
Rafael Benatar
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There is no such misaligment between 3rd and 4th because I'm not even trying to keep them aligned. After the secret move is done, this becomes almost irrelevant. yet it may have some retroactive effect. You can be a llittle careless (or look like you are being careless), and convey the impression that the whole count was done that way. It all happens in such a short time span that y the time people become aware that you are doing a count (which doesn't necessarily mean you are actually counting), you are already into the casual looking art with no secret move to hide. Ascanio always pointed out that, whichever way you do it, there should clearly be a hand from which the cards are counted (that remains still) and another hand that takes the cards from there. A good exercise is to rest the hand from which the cards are taken, against a wall, to make sure it doesn't move outward. Also, there should be a slight pause (very slight, maybe just a little slowdown) after each card is taken. That moment would be "the final action" as per Ascanio's terminology, while the action of taking the next card would be an "in-transit action", which is basically something, a necessary step, done on the way to something that appears more important.
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